Travel To & Around Minakami

Travel To & Around Minakami

Wagner Custome Skis

Where is Minakami Japan?

Minakami is located in the Tone District of the northern part of Gunma Prefecture, with the Niigata Prefecture just to the north. Located in the Kanto region, it is just 160km northwest of Tokyo.

Other towns near Minakami:
  • Yuzawa (snow country) in Niigata Prefecture is a 32km drive to the northwest
  • Minami-uonuma in Niigata is also home to various ski resorts and is 50km northwest
  • Katashina in Gunma is another hub of ski resorts which is 45km drive to the east
The main part of Minakami town straddles the Tone River, and the Ano River also meanders through parts of town.

Getting To Minakami


From Tokyo you can travel via the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomokogen station and get a bus to Minakami. Or there are other train routes from Tokyo where you can get a local train to Minakami that takes about 2.5 hours. See Navitime Japan Travel for timetables and fares.

Note that if you’re heading to Tenjindaira or Tenjin Lodge, the Doia train station is the closest. You can get a train route from Tokyo to Doia that may go via Echigo-Yuzawa, but do NOT get a train via Minakami. The latter platform is way underground and with poor insight they didn’t install a lift and it has 486 steps to get to the surface. It’s interesting to check out as a tourist attraction, but it’s a swear-worthy climb up those stairs with luggage.

Driving to Minakami

It’s a reasonably easy to drive to Minakami. From Tokyo the drive is via the Kan-etsu Expressway and it takes about 2.5 hours depending on traffic.

Getting Around Minakami

Having a rental car is handy to travel around the Minakami region because it gives you flexibility to get to different ski resorts in the area, restaurants and onsen. It is possible to get a public bus from Minakami train station to a few of the ski areas and Takaragawa Onsen, but there is only a small amount of accommodation within easy walking distance of the train station. If you get a rental car in Tokyo, Haneda Airport or Narita Airport, cars with snow tyres do not come standard so you’ll need to request this.

Guided Minakami Ski Tours

If you’re on a Tenjin Guides trip, your transport around Minakami will be taken care of. This includes shuttling clients to the best ski area on any given day and the packages include transport to a downtown restaurant one night and a visit to Takaragawa Onsen or Yuterume Onsen.

Tenjin Guides offer two types of trips. The first is a backcountry guided trip that is aimed at powder hounds who want to hit up the famed Tenjindaira and also be guided on poor weather days at other nearby ski areas such as Houdaigi, Kagura and other gems. The second trip is a learn to ski package that includes lessons at Minakami Hodaigi and other nearby ski areas.